Direction and a change of scenery can always make for interestingly new facets and focuses. For Pat Gubler’s P.G. Six, taking four years off and beefing up their scenery with an arsenal of veteran musicians has taken on a developing twist to a greater sound. On Starry Mind Gubler re-tools his band with steady musicians that allow Gubler to give in to elevated new compositions; instead of delving into a folk sound with bits of booming rock sprinkled in, Gubler has presented an album that refines his singer-songwriter roots with Crazyhorse-like rock for a solid release.
Immediately taking a new turn, the opening strums to “January,” a traditional Irish song, are filled with a biting guitar and an evident nod to Rush-like spectacles. Gubler takes the main basics of the song and warps them around the idea of welcoming the repetitive nature of it. Building off the addition of instruments and layers, the sounds grow into an immense swell. There’s a distinct standing ground that Gubler has taken advantage of and the music on Starry Mind relishes in all-encompassing mass. The downtrodden roll of “Talk Me Down” appears at first to be a country-lulling ditty but Gubler balances the strolling feel with a sparkling guitar melody. Many of the songs directly showcase a finer element of songwriting and in turn, the sounds are always complimentary and never overwhelming.
Six-string musician Tara Key is featured on the slow stomp of “Letter” and she provides a mellow skill of gelling flow. Gubler’s vocals sound assuredly confident and the ebb of the song is a masterful delivery where the sounds collide around each other. Singing “I don’t miss a thing from those days…I just try and make my way,” Gubler is moving on and the psychedelic influence is a fitting accompaniment. The album’s closer, “This Song,” composes of back-dropped drums and the lonely grit of a guitar: the emotional pull of the song makes for one of the album’s most dramatic moments. Crafting a towering wake of guitar solos and organ-inspired harmonies, the song marries all of Gubler’s strengths with sublime results.
There’s a diverse amount of sounds on Starry Mind and many of them infiltrate the album’s varied styles but Gubler has showcased a stronger set of chops with a developed progression. Although the songs shift into different moods and styles during recurring settings, Gubler enables the music to possess the prevailing theme of singer/songwriter-driven music. Even something as deceptively country as “Palace” makes way for even-keeled rock that pulses with an even-tempered display of pounding drums. Though there were hints of branching out before, none were ever as intrepid as the songs presented on Starry Mind, making Gubler’s music something to surely take note of.